Community Photo Essay Project Photography and presentation by: Brooke Kircher, Celine MazoyerJessica Boll & Sarah Castaneda Human Services 404 Winter Quarter 2011
Welcome Aboard! With Brooke:COMMUNITY Whatcom Transit Authority Bus 105: Fairhaven. Via 32ndst
Theme Communities exist even if they are not seen or recognized. Communities exist as people co-exist in similar environments. We felt as a group the best way to show this is to recognize that we all exist in a community, even if we access different elements of it. The first picture that we decided to represent is that exact element. In Bellingham the community relies heavily on the bus system for transportation. So the first picture of people riding the bus, which represent a community in a whole. The bus is just a central point that offers different stops people can get off and utilize in the community. That is what is presented in the following pictures. Individuals exist in the same environment are community members, and have some form of common ground, in this picture we see the bus is just that. The following element s in the community are always there, it just might not be ones bus stop. But getting off at a wrong stop can really open someones eyes. The following pictures are elements that are seen not only in Bellingham, but are elements of communities that are utilized in their own ways and cultures across the world. Our photos only offer a brief description. Welcome aboard.
First Stop with Jessica:Suburbia
Suburbia Another one of those bus stops is suburbia, where so many people live. The epitome of the American dream. All the houses look the same. Suburbia is entrapping in a way, because it is separation from other types of buildings through the means of single-use zoning. This means that one area has only houses, and another area has stores and restaurants, while another is industrial. This division in property types forces people to drive in order to get anywhere, which is counteractive if a person can’t drive. It can make people in a community feel separated from each other. Besides this, it is a very sprawling way to plan space and housing tends to take over previous farmland. The bus system (depending on the city) sometimes does not reach well into the suburbs, but it is still a connector. And many types of people live in the suburbs, from middle class to poor families, and from babies to the elderly.
Second Stop with Brooke:Third Places Woods Coffee House – Boulevard Park
Third Places Third places exist in communities and act as a gathering spots for community members. Home and work act as first and second places people use in their life. Many times a persons work or home life is structured around obligations and requirements, a third place offers a more welcoming environment for all members. Third places not only are accommodating, offer grounds for conversation. This is a key point to third places. Third places offer community members a home away from home, that often is close by and convenient to get to. It is a place that an individual feels a part of. A third place can bring the community feeling to an individual. The previous picture is inside a Woods Coffee House. Members of the Bellingham frequent here often, both young and old. People aren’t just coming back for the good coffee. The comfortable chairs and welcoming lighting is just a key element in this third places appeal. Third places serve a need for the individuals to connect them to the community and even better to each other.
Third Stop with Jessica:Faith Based Organizations Hillcrest Chapel
Faith Based Organizations I think that Hillcrest Community Services is a great example of a Faith-Based Organization, sponsored by Hillcrest Chapel. For one, they provide services as the Southside Food Bank and serve a hot meal twice a month. And not only that but they also provide Christian counseling (Bridging Counseling Ministries), a support group called Living Waters, and Parish Nursing (a health education/referral program). The church also has childcare and a preschool. Because of these examples, Hillcrest Services is a good example of how a faith-based organization is actively getting involved in bettering the community on multiple facets by meeting different needs (food, emotional/spiritual, and physical). I found it encouraging that they are pursuing more in-depth human service work, on top of the food bank. It is supported, in part, by a FEMA grant.
Fourth Stop with Jessica:Sustainability Community Co-Op Happy Valley Community Garden
Sustainability The pictures are quite literal depictions of sustainability in Bellingham. Although there are also many other ways that we impact the earth in a negative way, such as transportation, housing, and buying habits, the source of our food is an important one to focus on. Pictured are the downtown Bellingham Co-Op and the Happy Valley Community Garden. Shopping for food at the co-op ensures that farmers are being paid fairly for their crops and that the type of food you’re getting is as local as possible. They carry a wide variety of organic foods, which is a great way, on top of buying locally, to look out for the earth through the food you consume. The co-op is also member-owned, and not a big corporation, so you are supporting the local economy by shopping there. A community garden is about as local as it gets for food- grow it yourself. This and the Fairhaven garden also happen to be organic. Community gardens not only are a place to grow fruits and vegetables, but are also a great place to build relationships and have people come together in that way.
Fifth Stop with Sarah:Resiliency Whatcom Middle School
Resiliency The power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc. after being bent or compressed. Whatcom Middle School was originally built in 1903 making it the oldest school in the Bellingham School District, and on November 5, 2009 it caught on fire destroying most of the school causing all of the students to be transferred to different schools around the Bellingham area. This fire that practically eradicated the school did not stop the community from coming together and rebuilding it. The Bellingham School Board came together and awarded a local construction company, Dawson Construction, a contract to rebuild the middle school. Whatcom Middle School was also involved a competition call School Pride which was created by NBC and Microsoft. Talk TV interviewed a few of the former middle school students as well as the principal and also explained what had happened. Thanks to this exposure along with the many community supporters who voted, Whatcom won a new computer lab. Having community support to rebuild and be awarded a computer lab is just but a few of the many ways we are a part of this community.
Sixth Stop with Sarah: Grassroots Whatcom Peace & Justice Center
Grassroots Being, originating, or operating in or at the grass roots; not adapted from or added to an existing facility or operation; totally new. The Whatcom Peace and Justice center is just that. The WPJC was created in 2002 through the perseverance of many community members who wanted to promote the concepts of peace and justice here in our community and eventually spread these concepts worldwide. We are all a part of this grassroots movement in how we support this organization, such as through donations; how we participate through the WPJC, such as participating in the peace vigils, or anti-war protests; and just by being an advocate for peace and justice. These are just but a few of the many ways we are a part of this community.
Seventh Stop with Celine:Community Organization Project Homeless Connect 2011
Community Organizing Community organizing is people from a community coming together into a system that acts on a shared self-interest. Bellingham’s Project Homeless Connect is an example of a community organizing around a common goal while mobilizing into action. The goal being to put on an event that brings services to one place and revolves around the homeless community’s needs. People from all walks of life come together on this day to help and offer their services (Eichler, 2007). It is people from the community that plan, organize, mobilize, volunteer, advertise, and provide services to their fellow community members who are homeless. Project Homeless Connect is an example of a community organizing that is spreading across the nation; from community to community.
Eight Stop with Brooke:Ideologies Lobby Day 2011 Olympia, WA(PTA Rally)
Ideologies We are all influenced by ideologies whether we know it or not. Some are expressed more openly while others act as more internal beliefs. Ideologies provide a believer with a picture of the world as it should be (Sargent, 2009). People will often use their ideologies to better help there community. This is why this picture taken at Lobby Day 2011 in Olympia Washington is a good representation of the topic. These individuals were lobbying to support schools. Sargent (2009) states that ideologies develop from growth and maturation of a social movement, such is seeing here. Some people make their ideologies heard, like in this pictures, others internalize it and use their voice in more subtle ways. Whatever the way ideologies exist in every persons lives.
Ninth Stop with Sarah:Power
Whatcom County Courthouse
Power Webster defines power as having the ability to act of produce an effect. I took a picture of the courthouse because this is what many people might think of as power, especially in the context of our local community. In the courtroom there are many people there that have power, such as the judge, the lawyer or attorneys. There is also the jury, who is made up of community members. This is how we are a part of the community because we have a say in decisions such as deciding whether or not a person is guilty or not. You can even look at the bigger picture and think beyond the courtroom, but to government and how we the people have a right to vote, a right to free speech, and a right to fight for what we believe. If we want to see change being made whether that starts in the courthouse, or beyond then we have the opportunity to advocate and organize people who have a shared goal. It’s like Eichler said there’s two types of power: money and people. Well in our case we might not have a lot of money but we sure would have a lot of people.
Tenth Stop with Celine:Reciprocity Description
Reciprocity/Friendship Friendship is an example of a reciprocal relationship. The starfish represent friends and the interwoven flow of benefits. Friendship is a relationship built on mutual benefits. The giving and taking in a friendship should give each participant what they need in order to feel worth and equality. Giving something of value makes a person feel valued and receiving something of value meets another person’s (or people’s) need(s). While friendship is more of an intimate and emotional example of reciprocity, this concept can correlate to the interactions between an individual and a community system, between an organization and a community system, or even between one community system and another community system (Eichler, 2007).
Eleventh stop with Celine:Community History The old Georgia Pacific Mill
Community History Georgia Pacific is a pulp and paper making company that once had a mill located in Bellingham. The pulp mill closed in 2001 while the paper mill closed in 2007. GP was an important part of industry and economy in the Whatcom county community. This site is now part of Bellingham’s waterfront development plan, which is going to be a big part of Bellingham’s future economy, industry, and housing. The community’s history is important to it’s future. The history of a community provides insight into who the community is and where they might like to take their community in the future (Eichler, 2007).